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Cutting off our nose to spite our face

Here’s a story you probably haven’t heard about. The US cuts off all funding for UNESCO even though they are doing work that benefits us. I love the multiple levels of irony.

What is it about the Arab-Israeli conflict that has us so blinded?

UPDATE: The Atlantic has an interesting article about the Daily show that uses this very segment to make a point, under the headline “‘The Daily Show’s’ Advantage Over the MSM: An Eye for the Absurd. Its recent foray into long-form, satire infused reportage on UNESCO’s defunding holds subtle lessons for the press.”



  1. Hassan wrote:

    Well, from my non-scientific observation, Americans can be divided in three logical categories on issues of Israeli-Arab conflict:

    1. Pro-Israel
    2. Anit-Israel/Pro Palestine
    3. Don’t care

    Pro-Israel people can be for various reasons:
    1. Being Jewish, strong affiliation
    2. Being Liberal, finding Israel and its culture more aligned to liberal values than rest of arab world
    3. Being evangelicals, Jesus wont return to kill jews unless they are all in one place to be easily killed
    4. Being in politics, all of above 3 are politically active, and can contribute in winning elections one way or another.

    Anti-Israel can be for following reasons:

    1. Being Arab, strong affiliation to arab cause
    2. Being muslim, strong affiliation to muslims, and holy land
    3. Being liberal finding Israel policies objectionable
    4. Being racist against jews
    5. Being in politics that may want to win this minor constituency

    Do not care people:
    1. Hate both jews and arabs, let them kill each other
    2. We have no business there, we need to fix our own issues

    If you get rid of politics and politicians, there may be better solutions and more understanding.

    Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 10:41 am | Permalink
  2. Duckman wrote:

    Heard about this ages ago when Palestine got voted in. Not at all surprised

    Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 11:52 am | Permalink
  3. Michael wrote:

    Wow. I’ve heard plenty of false dichotomies before, but I think Hassan’s post is the first false trichotomy I’ve encountered.

    Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Permalink
  4. Hassan wrote:

    Please correct me, I would not mind, it is mere personal observation

    Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Permalink
  5. TENTHIRTYTWO wrote:

    I found it interesting that hating Muslims was not in your Pro-Israel list, while being “racist against Jews” was in your Anti-Israel list.

    Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Permalink
  6. Hassan wrote:

    1032, perhaps it can be true, usually they are anti-muslims because they are very pro-israeli, they are not pro-israel because they hate muslims.

    While being against israel because of anti-semitism, does not at all mean they love muslims hence.

    Again mere observations.

    Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Permalink
  7. Arthanyel wrote:

    Hassan – there is a small minority that doesn’t fit your model 🙂 I was raised Jewish but don’t hate arabs or muslims, and i do care but would not say I am pro either side.

    As that pertains to Palestine v. Israel – frankly, I think BOTH sides are nuts and both sides should be severely taken to task for their individual insanities. Using terror tactics against civilians is 100% wrong, and I reject whatever BS is used to try and justify it. Continuing to pour gasoline on a fire you claim you are trying to put out (as Israel is doing by continuing to build new west bank settlements) is 100% wrong, and I reject whatever BS is used to try and justify it.

    The conflict has roots that go back a long time, but both sides need to get over it and focus on the future. Until they BOTH are willing to publicly condemn – and STOP – activity that is 100% wrong there is not going to be a solution.

    Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Permalink
  8. Falkelord wrote:

    You forgot the 3rd type of “don’t care” people, the ones that know about it and are aware of it but don’t give a fuck about a tribal conflict that 2 sides can’t settle on their own.

    Because there are more important “humanitarian” issues externally that we can dance around all day instead of this one.

    Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Permalink
  9. Iron Knee wrote:

    Since nobody else will defend Hassan, I want to say that I found it illuminating. But I’m also enjoying the discussion about it.

    Having spent a month in the middle east a few months ago, I have to agree with Arthanyel — both sides are nuts. And it doesn’t have to be like that. Jordan seems to be relatively sane, so there is hope.

    Unfortunately, the US has tended to make matters worse, with the exception of Jimmy Carter’s success with Egypt and Israel.

    Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Permalink
  10. Michael wrote:

    So, number 3 is the easiest to correct, because I do care about the matter quite a bit. So it clearly doesn’t apply. Numbers 1 and 2, then, become a false dichotomy, similar to when Bush said that you’re either with us or your with the terrorists. That is, it implies that you pick to side with either Israel or Palestine.

    I strongly believe in Israel’s right to exist. I believe that, given the unique circumstances surrounding the Holocaust, the creation of a Jewish state was an international priority. (Yes, there have been other genocides in history, but none have happened in the same systematic, international manner.) Given that background, creating this Jewish state in the land of Zion was the correct decision. So, in general, I think of myself has having pro-Israeli sentiments. And I think that Israel has every right to defend itself given repeated calls to “push it into the sea.”

    Having said that, many people would actually brand me as anti-Israel, because I point out things like the facilitation of massacres of refugees, arguable war crimes, and irresponsibly disproportionate responses. I also think that continuing the development of settlements is horribly unethical. That’s not to suggest that the other side is blameless. For instance, the 2006 incursion came after an attack. And I don’t think the right of return for people whose grandparents were pushed out half a century ago is a reasonable demand.

    Basically, I see blood on the hands of both sides. I can see the argument (from the Israelis’ perspective) that “they started it.” But that doesn’t justify committing or facilitating massacres of innocents.

    One final point… A few years ago, I had a discussion with a Palestinian friend who made an interesting point. In his view, the vast majority of both Israelis and Palestinians want the matter settled and want to live in peace. The problem is that you have a minority on the Palestinian side that want to destroy Israel and continue to attack (often with funding from other countries in the region), while you have a minority on the Israeli side that think horrific retaliation is the only practical deterrent. That was just his opinion, and I don’t know how accurate it was, but it was an interesting idea that the region has their own equivalent of the “silent majority.”

    Saturday, March 24, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Permalink